How much of your mental energy is taken up by food?
Maybe deciding what to eat then preparing that food uses up all the energy you have in a day.
Maybe throughout the day you worry about getting your food or nutrition “right.”
Maybe you’ve done some Google searches and ended up down a rabbit hole of conflicting nutrition information, and now spend more time than you’d like trying to figure out what’s best.
Working on your relationship with food, planning meals, then doing all the steps to prepare that food does take time and energy.
But it doesn’t need to completely drain you.
Often people come to me expecting that I’m going to give them a meal plan and lists of foods to eat and avoid.
However, I find that approach often just creates more work for clients.
My goal is to lower the amount of labour you need to put into your nutrition and still feel good about it.
Sometimes that means streamlining food choices or planning emergency meals, as well as freeing up some mind space filtering out useful nutrition information or helping you let loose fears and anxiety around food.
After all, you consume food.
Food doesn’t need to consume you.
My name is Krystal Merrells. I’m a registered dietitian and a concussion warrior in Ontario, Canada.
I’ve had multiple concussions and I’ve seen how food can become this big stressful thing after a brain injury. I am here to help you move towards feeling good with food.
This is Food Love. A 14-day mini-series exploring your relationship with food.
Today is day 12: Energy & time
Have you been for a haircut recently?
I think it took me years post concussion to get my haircut. I was nervous letting another person touch my head while being in a brightly lit and noisy salon. Plus, it truly didn’t feel like much of a priority considering I wasn’t really going out anywhere.
But I think hairstylists can be this secret source of wisdom considering how many people they see, and just how deep those haircut convos can get.
Come on, I’m pretty sure you know what I’m talking about. The last time I got a haircut I had a conversation with the hairstylist about societal pressures to have kids followed up by old age planning…
I’ve had a number of insights sitting in the salon chair, and today I’m sharing with you one of the simplest from a hair cut I had a few years ago.
Before cutting my hair, the hairstylist asked me:
“How much time do you want to spend on your hair in the morning?”
Maybe this isn’t mind blowing to you, but at the time it was to me!
I had never been asked that before. And I never really considered it.
But your hair, if you have it, is something you might need to deal with every day. Even if you’re not going anywhere, it’s got to be functional. And although it might require daily maintenance, it’s not the only thing you have or want to do in a day. It has to have its own time and place without infringing on other priorities.
And food is the same too.
I’ve known people who’ve either had setbacks or panic attacks because their nutrition was so stressful!
They were told to follow an overly restrictive diet OR felt foods were to blame for their symptoms. This lead to an enormous amount of time and energy spent on getting the diet “right.”
In those instances, food and nutrition weren’t fuel sources for the brain and body, but fuel for ruminating and debilitating thoughts in the mind.
Food was consuming these people — nutrition was taking over their mind space not leaving much room for all the other important things that would help them be a happy and healthy human being.
Yes, nutrition is important.
Yes, in order to improve your nutrition and relationship with food it does take some dedicated time and energy.
You have other things to do in a day.
You have a greater life to live.
And who knows, you might have ideas that if put into action could solve world peace…
So today’s reflection is zooming out looking at the bigger picture by asking you:
How much time do you spend in a day thinking about or working on your food and nutrition?
How much time do you want to spend thinking about or working on your food and nutrition?
I do have a suggestion for an activity you can do here:
Take your daily priorities and represent them in a pie chart.
You can take your list of priorities from day one if that helps, then just roughly draw out how much time or mental energy they currently take up in your day. Then again, how much time and mental energy you’d like them to take up.
This might give you a slightly more objective look at your worries and how much fuel you’re giving them.
Regardless if you take up my pie chart exercise or not, day twelve invites you to loosen up on your nutrition if it’s over bearing and getting in the way of your other needs.
And if it’s not, allow yourself to dedicate some time to it if food and nutrition is a priority you’d like to see on the list more often.
I’ll share with you my own pie chart 🙂 you can check out my Instagram @brain.mind.nutrition.
Best in brain energy,